An increasing number of travelers are bringing their pets on vacation, as they view their furry friends as family members. According to the U.S. Travel Association, nearly one in five adult leisure travelers typically take their pets with them on vacation. As a result, AAA would like to remind pet owners about the importance of practicing good “petiquette” this summer.
“A little bit of courtesy can go a long way to ensure you and your pet have a safe and happy vacation,” said Jim Prueter, travel spokesman for AAA Arizona. “After all, your pet’s good behavior on a trip paves the way for future four-legged travelers and their pet parents.”
AAA offers the following pet etiquette tips, many of which are featured in “Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook:”
Before you go
• Sit, stay, speak! Depending on your pet’s level of command response, an obedience refresher course might be a good idea. Teaching or reinforcing basic commands such as sit, stay, come and heel can help prevent unacceptable behavior away from home.
• Visit the vet. Get a clean bill of health from the veterinarian and be sure your pet is up to date on vaccinations. Bring copies of your pet’s health certificate showing proof of inoculations.
• Policy check. Inquire about pet policies before making reservations. Properties may impose restrictions on the type or size of pet allowed.
• Call ahead. No matter the accommodations, be sure your pet is permitted at your destination. Even if staying with friends or relatives, make certain your pet is a welcome guest.
On the road
• Buckle up! In the car, pets should be confined to the back seat, either in a carrier or a harness attached to the car’s safety belt. This is for the safety of your pet as well as all passengers, as an unrestrained 10-pound dog will exert about 500 pounds of force in a collision at 50 mph.
• Head’s up, and in! No matter how enjoyable it seems, don’t let your dog stick their head out the window. Road debris and other objects can injure their eyes and ears, and the animal is at greater risk for severe injury if the vehicle should stop suddenly or be struck.
At your destination
• Maintain control. Don’t let your pooch jump on strangers, and don’t allow unfamiliar pets or people to interact with your animal companion without your supervision. Always keep your pet on a leash and keep your pet quiet – excessive barking will make you a poor hotel neighbor.
• Keep it clean. Carry pick-up bags to ensure that you’ll be able to clean up after your pooch and properly dispose of their waste. No matter your accommodations, don’t allow your pet on furniture, even if they are allowed at home.
• Don’t leave your pet alone. Pets left alone in an unfamiliar place may bark, cause damage or scare hotel staff. Some properties may require that pets be crated when unattended or that they may not be left alone at all.
• Safety first in the great outdoors. If camping, crate your pet at night to protect them from the elements and predators. When hiking, stick to the trail and keep your pet on a short leash. Be aware of indigenous poisonous plants or those causing physical injury.
Additional tips, tools and information, including a pet packing checklist, can be found in “The AAA PetBook.” Published annually, the comprehensive guide is designed to help animals and humans have a fun and hassle-free trip. The book is available for purchase at AAA branch offices, as well as online.
Linda Gorman is communications and public affairs director for AAA Arizona. Reach her at (602) 650.2716 or firstname.lastname@example.org.